Ref denies Dutch favour

Vink laughs off nationality claim

Dutch referee Pieter Vink has denied he did countryman Dirk Kuyt a favour by refusing Arsenal a penalty against Liverpool in midweek.

Many felt Kuyt's challenge on Alexander Hleb was a stick-on penalty in the teams' 1-1 first leg draw of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

Vink waved away Arsenal's appeals, leaving some to consider the possibility that Kuyt's involvement in the incident played a part in his decision-making process.

However, Vink has laughed off suggestions that being Dutch had anything to do with opting against awarding a penalty for Kuyt's challenge on Hleb.

"It's ridiculous to say I made the decision because I'm Dutch," he told The Sun.

"There are many nationalities playing in every team nowadays - Spanish, French, Italians, Brazilians - and it's not an issue.

"It's a completely ludicrous suggestion."

Despite the media uproar surrounding the penalty claim, Vink admits he enjoyed the experience of officiating at Emirates Stadium.

"I haven't seen it again, but I will look at it on DVD," he said of the penalty incident. "If it was a game in Holland then I would admit it if I made a mistake.

"All I will say is that it was a great atmosphere with two good teams and I didn't have any problem handling this match."